The Shalom journal was started during the art journaling workshop series that ended last week. For about two weeks I kept running into the word “shalom”. It seemed to be everywhere. I knew it meant peace and a greeting in Hebrew and more, but I wasn’t sure what the “more” was. Then at book club a woman said, “I really should do a word study on shalom.” And that was the final nudge to do a word study and make it visual in one of my art journals. The rub in it was that as soon as I decided to study shalom and peace, I felt unrest and angst. Does that sort of thing ever happen to you too?

For weeks, as I went through the process of the journal and current life, I began to realize I could not rely on my feelings. Discerning the difference between my feelings and the presence of the Holy Spirit has become a focus. At times I haven’t had any feelings at all, which is unusual for me. I am being asked to grow and stretch, which can be painful.  Somehow in the making of this journal, God used the act of making something with my hands in tandem with speaking to my heart and mind, and therefore into my life. Now at the end of the process, peace restored and trust is growing, I’ve decided to share the shalom journal word study with you on my blog the next few weeks. Here is the front cover:

The circle seems the most fitting symbol to me for shalom, the wholeness, lack of beginning and end, without sharp corners, unity, and a symbol of God. So throughout the journal there are circles and ovals. The background was first painted in our painting papers class using starch painting. At first it looked awful, but I painted it again and later added fluid gold paint and stenciled purple with punchinella and stamped phthalo turquoise used a plastic doille. The papers below are sheet music and text book pages torn, or cut into swirls and circles. They were painted in class, cut, and then glued on with matte medium. 
Here are the first two pages of the book:
I first googled “Shalom” and visited a number of sites, and listed some of the definitions and synonyms here. Deriving from the Hebrew root SH-L-M meaning completeness and wholeness, every part of well-being is suggested in body, mind, spirit; in the individual, community, society, culture and the world. It is a reality and a hope. Like the Kingdom it lives in the “now and the not yet.” It is a noun, verb, adverb and and adjective, all encompassing. For me, it is summed up in being both the journey and the destination.
Here is a quote found on the Wikipedia site written by Cornelius Plantings in 
Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be
“The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight-a rich state of affairs that in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words is the way things ought to be.”


  1. What a great journal is one is going to be and so meaningful to boot……I have learned much about shaloam reading this post and I look forward to learning more as you share with us your findings….

    Valerie, this is beautiful as all your work is…..

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